My 14 year old son put on his first teen party a couple of weeks ago. Both he and I thought it was successful. But here are other comments, the ones that matter, for some Facebook social proof that it was indeed fun -
• G.E. "Awesome party, we need to do it again sometime."
• K. A. "Heck yes we do."
• K.S. "I had fun at [his] party, he needs to do it again this month."
• S.W. "...this was an amazing party, thanks for inviting me."
• D.S. "Great party... you have to do it again sometime."
• J.F. "Easily the best party ever, I thank you and your parents."
For a teen, putting on a party puts him/her in a vulnerable position. They are setting themselves up for judgement from their peers. That can be stressful, especially if you don't know what to do. Since my son's party turned out to be fun (and my other's children's parties as well) I thought I'd share some of the behind-the-scene party plan so that you and your teen can have confidence in putting on a party of your own.
HERE ARE 5 TEEN PARTY TIPS TO HELP
Invite small groups of friends but those groups don't have to be friends. This way the kids feel...
1) comfortable because they know someone else that is going to the party and can arrive together,
2) it's not a clique because it's not all one group and
3) they will have a chance to meet other kids that they my know by sight but have never had a chance to talk to or interact together.
Teach your teen how to host their guests. It doesn't have to feel formal but there are some formalities that will help their friends feel comfortable. They need to learn tips to be able to...
1) smile, and not be stressed but relaxed and enjoy the party, no one likes an uptight host or parents,
2) know how to introduce each other, tell them thanks for coming and that you're glad they're there,
3) carry the conversation, in the beginning, when there are not too many people (see photo below) and so they don't leave their friends in awkward silence.
It's a no brainer to have lots of food but ask other's to bring something they like. That way they will...
1) have one thing they for sure like at the party
2) it will make them feel 'invested' in the party and that they 'have' to go when they might feel a little nervous about going,
3) it helps with the cost, especially if your house turns into the "party house".
Once you get the kids there, you ought to have a loose plan of what will fill the time.
1) Music. There's bound to be silence in the beginning as guests arrive. Have some music playing so there isn't that awkward what-do-I-do-now silence and they panic. Don't judge a party by the first half hour.
2) Do. Have something for them to do - make food, Wii Just Dance®, swim, water games, etc.
3) Record. Put out cameras and video recorders for them to use and catch some of the action. They can replay, relive and laugh about it.
I'm not a big fan of unchaperoned teen parties. I, and other parents, feel a parent should be at the party the whole time. It helps...
1) your kid avoid being put in an uncomfortable position because of your presence, you can do a "pass-through" (walking through the room to do something) or "stand-a-few" (just coming in to stand and watch the game, movie, or whatever, for a few minutes, see the photo below) several times during the evening,
2) make other kids feel ok that if one of the other kids starts acting lame that the parent will come in and intervene somehow,
3) you get to know your kid's friends and they get to know you, and your kid might see that his/her friends think you're kinda cool for letting them have a party.
The first party is the hardest. The unknown always seems to be. But, putting on a party comes off much easier than you think. So don't be afraid. Try these 5 Teen Party Tips and put one on.
What other tips have worked for you and your teen?